So here's another one to add to the "been there, done that" list. It's a 1956 Automatic K-404. It was only produced for one year.
The K-404 comes in a 10K gold filled case. The sterling silver dial features solid 18K gold numerals and markers. The dauphine hands are luminous and there are luminous dots at the hour markers too.
It's interesting to note the Hamilton catalog doesn't show that there's a 6 on the dial. In reality the K-404 has numbers at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions. I think this is the first error I've seen in the artistic renditions of the catalogs.
Behind the dial you will find a 17 jewel Hamilton 661 movement. This Swiss-made automatic was a workhorse for Hamilton and the dominant movement in automatic models from the 1950's.
I recently purchased a K-404 off eBay. The listing pictures were terrible and it ended up being a lot rougher than I was expecting. I didn't pay that much for it but I still probably overpaid based on the condition of the case… as you'll see below.
Apparently some moron damaged the case, most likely to test the gold content. I hate when jewelers damage a piece to sample the gold.
The inside of the case back clearly states the gold content (the outside says it too). The inside also tells you what model this is. That seems to occur about 50% of the time. In other words, sometimes the model name is in the case back and sometimes it isn't.
The acrylic crystal is very beat up and accounts for most of the watch's rough aesthetic appearance. Just changing that will make a big difference.
After an overhaul of the movement, you can see below that this 661 is running great.
And here's the finished product, all polished up with a new crystal and nice strap. I think I'll take the case to my local jeweler and see if they can fix the damage on the sides. Hopefully that won't be too difficult because otherwise this watch looks great.
I think this K-404 turned out really well. Originally I thought I might have to scrap it so I'm glad it could be saved.